MPs call for supermarkets to promote British produce

Over 110 MPs have signed an open letter calling for supermarkets to add “buy British” tabs to their websites.

The National Farmers Union (NFU), which started the “buy British” campaign, said that directing shoppers to food grown in the UK would help the British economy and cut the country’s carbon footprint.

Research from the NFU suggests that 86 per cent of consumers want to buy more British food but find it difficult to determine what products are produced in the UK.

Signatories of the letter include former Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, Climate Minister Graham Stuart and members of the Commons’ EFRA Committee.

The letter was signed by representatives from all the main political parties in England and Wales.

“British farmers work hard all year round to ensure our nation’s food security, are crucial in supporting strong local economies and have been instrumental in preserving and protecting our environment,” said the letter, adding that the “small change” would give “customers greater autonomy over their food choices” and could boost seasonal eating.

Most UK supermarkets do not have a dedicate page on their websites for British produce. Ocado has a “best of British” page, while Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have sections for seasonal British produce on their fruit and vegetable page.

“We have been asking retailers to commit to signposting British produce for a number of years, so it’s great to see MPs and their constituents getting behind the idea of a ‘buy British tab’ online,” said Minette Batters, NFU president. “It is often tricky to determine what products are produced in the UK and this simple change would help shoppers do that."

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